Barcelona’s quest for young talent from South America has been no secret, with the Catalan club identifying and signing a number of rising stars from the region. The latest target on their radar was Ecuadorian wonderkid Kendry Paez. However, according to Joaquim Piera of SPORT, Paez has now opted to join Chelsea, even though he had previously been on Barcelona’s radar.
At just 15 years old, Paez has already made his debut for Independiente del Valle, and scored a goal in his three appearances so far. He is also currently representing the Ecuadorian national team at the South American U-17 Championships. Barcelona had reportedly been keeping a close eye on the talented left-footed attacking midfielder, but their financial limitations meant they could not make a move for him. Follow your favourite football club with attractive betting odds from NextBet.
Chelsea, however, was able to secure Paez’s services for a reported €20 million, despite the fact that he will not be able to join the club until he turns 18 years old in 2025. The Blues even received approval from the English FA and the Premier League over Paez’s signing earlier this week, and an official announcement is likely to follow soon.
Barcelona’s loss of Paez to Chelsea is the latest in a string of disappointments for the Catalan club, as they have also missed out on other young talents to their rivals in recent months. The Blaugrana failed to secure the signing of Endrick to Real Madrid, and were beaten to Andrey Santos’ capture by Chelsea in January.
Despite this setback, Barcelona will still be pushing to sign Vitor Roque in the summer, and will be hoping to win that transfer battle with Chelsea. Meanwhile, the Blues continue their pursuit of young talents from across the world, and with the acquisition of Paez, they have shown they are not afraid to invest heavily in the future. Get all the latest updates from the world of football only on NextBet Sports.